Congratulations to Nesta Guinness-Walker, who you have voted as Reading’s Rookie of the Year for 2022/23.
The full-back was up against Amadou Mbengue and Kelvin Abrefa, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two for second and one for third in our poll last week. In the tightest result in TTE history, Guinness-Walker received 383 points in total to narrowly triumph over Mbengue’s tally of 382. Abrefa finished a distant third on 207 points.
Guinness-Walker is the ninth winner of this (very prestigious) award, but the first not to have come through Reading’s academy. Not to discredit the 23-year-old, but that arguably points towards a poor campaign for the pathway into the first team.
Guinness-Walker was an underwhelming signing last summer, having just been relegated to League Two with AFC Wimbledon. He didn’t do much to help his reputation by looking considerably out of his depth on the opening day away at Blackpool.
However, he grew considerably more confident as the season went on and, by the end of the campaign, he was deservedly a key figure in the side – starting six of the final eight games. Undoubtedly better as a wing-back due to his attacking strengths, Guinness-Walker even looked relatively solid in a back four under caretaker boss Noel Hunt.
With regards to our player ratings, Guinness-Walker’s average score was the second-highest of anyone in the squad who played more than 30 times, and he finished joint-second for MOTM awards (alongside Mbengue and Naby Sarr).
With the club triggering an option to extend Guinness-Walker’s contract, he should be a vital part of the team which attempts to return to the Championship at the first attempt. Congratulations Nesta!